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First AMD "Zen" Chips to be Quad-Core

Some of the first CPUs and APUs based on AMD's next-generation "Zen" micro-architecture could be quad-core. "Zen" will be AMD's first monolithic core design after a stint with multi-core modules, with its "Bulldozer" architecture. Our older article details what sets Zen apart from its predecessor. As expected, in a multi-core chip, Zen cores share no hardware resources with each other, than a last-level cache (L3 cache), much like Intel's current CPU architecture.

There's just one area where Zen will differ from Haswell. With Haswell, Intel has shown that it can clump any number of cores on a chip, and make them share a proportionately large L3 cache. Haswell-E features 8 cores sharing a 20 MB cache. The Haswell-EX features 18 cores sharing 45 MB of cache. With Zen, however, the scale up stops at 4 cores sharing 8 MB of L3 cache. A set of four cores makes up what AMD calls a "quad-core unit." To be absolutely clear, this is not a module, the cores share no hardware components with each other, besides the L3 cache.

Intel Haswell-EX an 18-core Leviathan

Intel's biggest enterprise CPU silicon based on its "Haswell" micro-architecture, the Haswell-EX, is a silicon monstrosity, according to its specs. Built in the 22 nm silicon fab processes, the top-spec variant of the chip physically features 18 cores, 36 logical CPUs enabled with HyperThreading, 45 MB of L3 cache, a DDR4 IMC, and TDP as high as 165W. Intel will use this chip to build its next-gen Xeon E7 v3 family, which includes 8-core, 10-core, 12-core, 14-core, 16-core, and 18-core models, with 2P-only, and 4P-capable variants spanning the E7-4000 and E7-8000 families. Clock speeds range between 1.90 GHz and 3.20 GHz.
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